Posted by Grace Feng on January 30, 2013
When we come to learn the equivalent usage of adjective clause (形容词从句 xíngróngcí cóngjù) in Chinese, we’ll see big difference between English and Chinese. In this Learn Chinese Online lesson, I’d like to start with an example like this (I’m trying to avoid using too many grammar terminologies in my explanation so that readers that are not familiar with those terminologies can also understand easily):
She is the one who taught me Chinese.
If we try to translate this sentence into Chinese literally, the sentence will sound awkward and incorrect:
Then what is the right way to express this sentence in Chinese? We’ll get to that soon after a quick review of a few new words (please use the estroke tool under the new word table to practice your writing):
|Simplified Chinese||Traditional Chinese||Mandarin Pinyin||English Definition|
|小云||小雲||xiao3 yun2||name of a girl|
|想||想||xiang3||to think; to want|
|部||部||bu4||classifier for works of literature, films, machines etc;|
|电影||電影||dian4 ying3||movie; film|
The most difficult part of the translation is how to convert the adjective clause: “who taught me Chinese“, the sub sentence that is used as an adjective of “the one“. Where should we place this sentence in Chinese then?
Well, the answer is actually not tricky at all: just get rid of “who“, then place it right before “the one“, then add a “的” after that adjective clause, done. Like this:
She is + taught me Chinese + 的 + the one.
Red-write it in Chinese:
她是 + 教我中文 + 的 + 那个人。
tā shì jiāo wǒ Zhōngwén de nàgèrén。
Let’s try to apply this rule to another example:
He didn’t like the book that his friend gave him.
“that his friend gave him” is the adjective clause that describes “the book“.
After the rule is applied, the sentence should look like this:
He didn’t like + his friend gave him + 的 + book.
To re-write in Chinese, it becomes:
tā bù xǐhuan tā de péngyou gěi tā de nà běn shū。
Do you get it?
In the following two examples, adjective clause is used and highlighted in the sentence. Could you please translate them into English and compare how the adjective clause is used between these two languages? You can check your translation against the answers at the bottom of the post.
xiǎo Yúnhé láikàn tā de rén shì hǎopéngyou.
dìdi xiǎng kàn zuótiān jiějie kàn guò de nà bù diànyǐng.
Are you clear on how to use adjective clause in Chinese now? If yes, please go ahead and express the following two sentences in Chinese as your practice. Feel free to leave your answers in the comment area, then I can check them for you.
Practice 1. Mom likes the book that I wrote.
Practice 2. He is the boy who studies Chinese.
[Answer for Chinese to English translation practice:
a. Xiao Yun and the one who visited her were good friends.
b. He wanted to watch the movie that his sister had watched yesterday.]
Category: JLC Chinese grammar lessons
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